From February 25th to March 5th, 2017, the Faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology of Voronezh State University was visited by the chief coordinator of the Tempus project «Improving the teaching of European languages through the introduction of on-line technologies in teacher training», Director of postgraduate programmes in English and Reader in Applied Linguistics, Dr. Sue Garton and her colleague from Aston University Jacqueline Harding. For Dr. Garton, this is the second visit to VSU, and the programme of this visit was filled with various events.
On February 27th, Dr. Sue Garton and Jacqueline Harding had a meeting with VSU rector Dmitry Endovitsky. During the meeting, the results of VSU participation in the Tempus project were discussed, and they were highly appreciated by the chief coordinator of the project. Dr. Garton noted the great role of Voronezh State University in the implementation of the Tempus project, as well as the dedication and professionalism of the members of the VSU working group: “They made a great contribution to maintaining friendly relations among the members of the consortium of universities. We are pleased that the project has expanded by applying for other projects, primarily on the organisation of academic mobility, aimed at training new language teachers”. The rector of Voronezh University Prof. D. Endovitsky congratulated Dr. Garton on her election as Honorary Doctor of VSU, noting that this is very important for strengthening Russian-British relations. He also invited the British colleagues to take part in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of European research in Russia conducted by the Institute of Europe in VSU in May 2017, and of the 100th anniversary of VSU in autumn of 2018.
On February 27th and 28th, Dr. Sue Garton and Jacqueline Harding together with the VSU lecturer Elena Chaika, held classes on the modules “Language Teaching Methodology”, “English Language Improvement”, “Technologies in Language Teaching” and “Course Design and Evaluation” with 1st and 2nd year master students. The classes traditionally took place in the computer class of the faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology and were organised entirely based on the materials of the moodle electronic platform. In all the participants’ opinion, the sessions were interactive, creative, extremely interesting and useful both from the point of view of professional preparation for teaching languages and intercultural communication in the target language.
On March 1st and 2nd, Dr. Sue Garton and Jacqueline Harding took part in the international scientific and practical conference “Innovations in Modern Language Education”. At the beginning of the conference, VSU rector Prof. D. Endovitsky presented Dr. Sue Garton with the gown and badge of VSU Honorary Doctor in significance of her great personal contribution to strengthening Russian-British relations, international professional cooperation between VSU and European universities, as well as improving professional training in the field of language education. Then, Dr. Sue Garton delivered a plenary lecture on “Innovations in Higher Pedagogical Education: from Theory to Practice of Implementing Tempus Project”, which focused on the concept of “e-learning” and the process of moving from distance to blended learning, and considering its advantages and disadvantages. Within the framework of the conference programme, Dr. Sue Garton and Jacquie Harding held workshops with the participation of the 1st year master students of the MA programme “Teaching languages with the use of online technologies”. Jacquie Harding also delivered an interactive lecture “Teaching/learning vocabulary of modern English” for a large audience of members of the Voronezh branch of the Association of Teachers of English.
Dr. Sue Garton and Jacqueline Harding were offered an extensive cultural programme. Together with the members of the Tempus project working group, MA students and conference participants, they visited the museum of the history of Voronezh University, the museum of rare books, the ethnographic museum of the philological faculty, made a walk around the city, visiting memorable places, and also a tour to Dmitri Venevitinov’s estate in the village of Novozhivotinnoe. Sue and Jacquie were particularly impressed by the museum of the forgotten musical instruments and Voronezh Oceanarium.